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Acholi Cultural festival hangs in balance over shortage of funds

Acholi Cultural festival, File Photo

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Organizers of the annual Acholi Cultural festival are struggling to fundraise money for the event.

During the initial days of preparations, the institution budgeted 420 million Shillings for the event.

However, Alex Oyet, the coordinator of Acholi Cultural Institution, who is also the vice chairperson of the organizing committee of this year’s event says that they have only realized 70 million Shillings, yet the event is only a week away.

Oyet explains that the slow contribution is attributed to the effect of the Covid-19 and the current economic downturn. The event will be hosted in Gulu city, not in Kitgum municipality as was earlier suggested.

The organizers have scheduled December 15-17, as the days for the annual festival. Oyet said the organizers are following up on organizations and individuals who pledged to support the event, and will ensure that the event is held even with limited funds.

During the traditional gala, hundreds of people from the 54 clans within the sub-region showcase various Acholi dishes, attire and traditional dances, and folklore among others.

A number of local musicians are also invited to entertain the revelers during break time.

However, Oyet revealed that this time round the local musicians might not feature because of the limited funds.

Over 100 members of the Luo community in South Sudan, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC have been invited to attend the festival. These, Oyet said might have to bear the cost of their own accommodation, as well as officials from the various ministries in Uganda.

He said that groups that will have many members participating during the event such as dance troupes will be accommodated in public institutions such as schools, to cut the cost of hiring lodging.

The festival was launched by the Paramount Chief of the Acholi, Rwot David Onen Acana II in 2017 to bring together the Acholi to celebrate their heritage and identity. This would have been the 6th edition of the event.

However, in 2020 and 2021, the festival was suspended due to restrictions on crowding necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The preparations resumed this year following the removal of meeting restrictions.

The theme of the year’s event will be; Promoting Cultural Values for Economic Development.



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